The time may finally be right to bring the BBC's gritty space opera Blake's 7 back to television. British satellite network Sky One has ordered two 60-minute TV movies, for a possible "event series," BBC News reported. (I'm guessing "event series" means the occasional one-off TV movie or special.) The production company that owns the rights to the 1970s show about rebels fighting a totalitarian space empire tried to make a new version five years ago, but it crashed and burned. Now, with the Battlestar Galactica reboot winning so much acclaim, it may be the perfect time for NewBlake.
Back in the early 2000s, Blake's 7 Productions, which got the rights to Blake from Terry Nation's estate, was constantly promising that a new version would be on television any day now. If you signed up for their newsletter, you would get a series of emails written by Paul Darrow, who played Avon the snarky computer nerd and who was signed up to star in the new series. Darrow's messages always included a healthy mix of hype and Avon-style snark:
Everything in on track - (I've been told to say this) - for the realization of our dreams. The nightmare of procedures regarding the 'setting up' of the project are at an end. We are on red alert. Well ... amber. All that remains is to 'make the deal' with one of a number of interested investors and all of a sudden we'll gallop apace.
Question is ... with whom shall we climb into bed? I'll rephrase that. With which TV distribution company will the interests of the new... newish ... 'Blake's Seven' be best served? That's the stage we're at. It's now up to the sharp traders. What do 'they' want from 'us'? What will we get from them? We'll find out sooner rather than later and we'll keep you informed. Meanwhile, Andrew Mark Sewell - all three of him - slaves away on your behalf. (And mine - I need the money.) Simon Moorhead has joined our production team in place of Brian Lighthill. (Brian is now 'a consultant'. Nice one, Brian.) And for me ... I struggle on in the hope that Avon will not be on his death bed when the cameras start rolling.
Sadly, they never "climbed into bed" with anybody for the Blake's 7 revival, and Darrow had a falling out with the other would-be creators. It's probably just as well, since any new series starring Darrow would probably have been a "Next Generation" type deal, with the now-grizzled Avon teaching a group of young freedom-fighters how they did it in his day. (Darrow and some of the original cast did reunite for a couple of radio dramas five or six years ago.)
This new version seems more likely to be a reboot, with new actors playing rebel leader Blake and the rest of the gang, plus the flouncy-but-evil Supreme Commander Servalan. Supposedly some of the same creative people who worked on last year's well-received Blake dramas for BBC Radio 7 (which also featured an all-new cast) will be involved once again. [BBC News]